I spent most of last week in New York and Boston, meeting with major investors. One key topic on all their agendas was the major downturn underway in the global mining industry. The connection with my visit was that some have already begun to worry that the planned US ethylene expansions may lead to a […]
Tag Archives | Polyethylene
The above chart is a major wake-up call for anyone who still believes that China will continue to import ever-increasing volumes of major commodities such as polyethylene (PE). It suggests demand and import growth are now at much lower levels than in the past, and may even have begun to peak. The chart shows cumulative volumes in […]
More and more commentators are beginning to recognise that deflation is becoming inevitable in many major economies: China’s producer prices fell -4.3% last month, and its consumer prices rose just 0.8% Eurozone consumer prices fell in December to -0.2%, and are likely to have fallen further in January US prices rose just 0.8% in December and are […]
A manufacturing slowdown is now well underway in China, as the latest official and unofficial Indices confirm. The government is mitigating this via its policy of self-sufficiency – which means a steady reduction in the need for imports – as well as by increasing exports of higher value-added products such as polyethylene (PE). PE is the largest volume plastic, used in […]
A return to lower oil prices is good news for the global economy. But it is bad news for all those who have invested in expanding ethylene production on the assumption that US gas prices would maintain the temporary advantage of recent years. As the chart shows: Oil (blue line) has around 6x the energy […]
China’s ‘collateral trade’ is still a major force in world markets for iron ore, copper and even plastics such as polyethylene. September’s data suggests $13.5bn of fake invoices added 56% to the value of China’s exports to Hong Kong, as property developers strove to raise cash to finish their buildings. Full details of the trade […]
Turkey is the blog’s “go-to” market when it wants to confirm trends in global markets. The reason is that Turkey has a very successful downstream industry, but has failed to invest in upstream capacity. This means it is essentially an opportunistic market from a sellers’ viewpoint. During good times, exporters will only divert product from […]
Global metal markets are at growing risk from developments in China’s ‘collateral trade’, as yesterday’s post highlighted. Worryingly, so are products such as polyethylene and ethylene glycol, as it seems likely these have also been used as collateral more recently. This will be bad news for producers already suffering from slowing demand: China’s economy continues to weaken as the […]
Iron ore prices on China’s futures market were at 5-year lows yesterday. Copper prices also weakened in Australia. This adds to the blog’s concern that China’s ‘collateral trade’ market is getting closer and closer to its ‘moment of truth’. This will come as an awful shock to most outside observers, who have been led to believe China’s vast imports […]
Polymer traders must be already counting their end-of-year bonuses, as the value of the US$ rises whilst crude oil prices weaken. The biggest bonuses will likely go to polyethylene (PE) traders competing with US producers. The reason is that US ethylene spot prices are currently at record levels. An astonishing 10% of US ethylene capacity has been out […]
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Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry.
The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts.
Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.